Belgium in Brief: Ryanair pulls out of Zaventem

Belgium in Brief: Ryanair pulls out of Zaventem
Credit: Belga

Never one to keep his views to himself, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has made clear his disdain for any constraints that the budget airline might face.

Whether confronting employees who have seen their working conditions eroded following the pandemic or governments whose taxation and environmental protections he would rather didn't exist, the rambunctious CEO doesn't shy from making his voice heard.

Just a few months ago, O'Leary dismissed the demands of Belgian cabin crew unions, telling critics to "calm down and stop panicking because some union issued a strike notice." In the same breath, he insisted that passengers wouldn't notice any eventual strike. Over the following month, the airline was forced to cancel over one hundred flights after company management refused to consider union requests.

Now, the airline has displayed the same reluctance to change its ways, announcing that it will close its base at Brussels Airport Zaventem after taking issue with, in O'Leary's words, a "stupid tax which penalises Belgian airports." The impact will affect not only passengers but also a considerable number of employees.

A trade union representative has called Ryanair's announcement "blackmail" and a bold political statement that pays no heed to the human cost of their actions. Yet with O'Leary increasing his salary to just shy of €1 million whilst at the same time ardently resisting calls to restore pilot wages to pre-pandemic levels, his neglect for the welfare of Ryanair employees is hardly a surprise.

Are you used to flying Ryanair from Zaventem? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your coffee break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

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